IN 1983, the late, great writer, screenwriter – and one helluva sharp cookie, William Goldman – first released his razor-sharp guide to Hollywood, Adventures in the Screen Trade.
It was hard not to think of the book’s most famous quote when regarding the recent Golden Globes – generally seen and helpful as an indication of how films may fare in the upcoming Oscars.
“Nobody knows anything … Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.”
A prescient outlook, with year after year not dulling their impact and accuracy as films flop, awards jump past the more obvious choice – or, paradoxically, end up getting hoovered up by obvious choices, ignoring better films – and awards ceremonies leave critics scratching their heads.
Close to 36 years after that book and quite first appeared, it seems that nobody knows anything is still pretty much the standard setting for Tinsel Town, which was borne out by the recent Golden Globes awards.
By now, we’ve all seen the somewhat random-feeling results of the 76th Golden Globes, which I won’t delve into much here.
The Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody proved something of the dark horse of the night, romping home with the surprise wins of Best Film (Drama) and Best Actor for Rami Malik.
Sure, the slightly undercooked (and a tad whitewashed) film about Queen and the awesome Freddie Mercury was a big hit, but did Rhapsody really deserve to beat the barnstorming A Star is Born remake, or the critically adored Roma?
Similar faint suspicions greeted Rami’s victory. Although he’s widely regarded as one of the nicest people in Hollywood, and already displays some serious acting chops, the talented actor’s top win was still a little surprising.
And, with all the fuss over Rhapsody’s successes, sharper eyes and ears will have noted one particular absence: the film’s original director, Bryan Singer, wasn’t invited to the awards or referenced by anyone.
Singer was controversially removed from the film, and has since been battling allegations of abuse – on the glittering awards night the director was like the ghost of Hamlet’s father: never referred to or seen.
I could continue to dissect the Globe winners, but like I said, we’ve all seen the who’s-who winners by now, and with the upcoming Oscars little more than a month away in late February, it’s time to think of “Nobody knows anything” yet again.
At this stage, we certainly don’t even know who, if anyone, will be presenting the Oscars, which are now facing into the possibility of having no host – a rarity, but a likelihood this year.
As recently covered here, funnyman Kevin Hart had been asked to host; however, a sudden focus on his several ugly, homophobic remarks saw him forced to step down.
Despite Hart’s recent apparent change of mind over apologising for his odious anti-gay comments – apparently now he’s considering his perfectly valid critics to be just trolls and jealous haters – he’s still out of the Oscars hosting gig.
So, nobody knows anything about who will be presenting the Oscars, how they’ll be presented if nobody can be found, or what the turmoil in a fragmenting industry means for the august awards ceremony, which still don’t quite fully account for the rise of streaming services.
To complete the storytelling loop I started on, once upon a time we all knew very much what to expect from our film awards ceremonies, and from our stars and industry figures.
But today, as 2019 gathers steam, it’s never been clearer that, truly, nobody knows anything …